So in ~/.ssh/config, I see an identity file like the following.

Host github.com
  User gitboy
  Hostname github.com
  PreferredAuthentications publickey
  IdentityFile ~/.ssh/some_public_github_key
  IdentitiesOnly yes

Is there some kind of specification that describes what these fields mean? (I can infer what they mean by being familiar with the github ssh process), but what does IdentitiesOnly mean?

1 Answer 1


This isn't an identity (public-key) file; it is a configuration file. It is documented in the ssh_config manual page. Alternately to web-hosted copies of manual pages, use man ssh_config on your local system to ensure that the documentation is for the version of ssh installed on your system.

The IdentitiesOnly yes line in particular indicates that the ssh connection should only use the specified IdentityFile; not any other identities which it might have access to.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .